Scones with a smile at Eastwood's CWA tea rooms
Published on 28 August 2019
We dropped by the Country Women's Association (CWA) tea rooms in Eastwood to chat with Jan, Branch Secretary, and Helene, Branch Publicity Officer, to find out about their experiences volunteering and learn more about what happens at this iconic establishment.
The CWA was established in 1922 and is Australia's largest women's organisation. The tea rooms in Eastwood are run by volunteers of the Eastwood-Epping branch and proceeds are donated to charities and community projects.
Handmade crafts and books for sale in the shop
What can people visit the tea rooms for?
Helene: The tea rooms are clean and quiet and a great place to have a break from bustling Eastwood. Some people come for meetings as it's close to public transport and the town centre. Our $5 devonshire teas are very popular and include two scones with jam and cream and a tea or coffee.
You can also buy local honey, homemade jams, handicrafts, second-hand books for reading on the train.
What kinds of people do you have coming to the tea rooms?
Helene: We get people of all ages. We get a few men that come and say 'Am I allowed in?' But men are most welcome! Once they realise that lots of other men are regular customers they come for their scones. We have mothers groups, families, leisure learning people and a wide cross-section of the community. Every day we get different people visiting. We also get regular groups coming in and some local organisations order scones in bulk.
A group enjoying Devonshire tea
Who do you have volunteering for you?
Jan: We have a wide range of people volunteering for us. We get people from many different cultural backgrounds, interests and ages. It's a safe space to interact and we all learn from each other. Like Helene - I would never have met her otherwise!
Helene: It's amazing what skills people have. Sometimes there's an assumption that people with grey hair are boring but the stories and the history they bring can be incredible. We've had great travellers and people with amazing careers. They can then keep those skills going in their work as volunteers.
CWA Eastwood-Epping Branch Secretary Jan Eagleton
What do you love about volunteering?
Jan: The fact that it can keep your mind going. My parents both had dementia so I try to push that out of my life. I also think it makes you more interesting, instead of sitting at home on the couch. It's also about meeting different people. Everyone's different and it's great.
Helene: I do also work other jobs but I love to give back to the community and meet people I wouldn't normally meet. It's good to interact with people of different ages and just see what's happening in the community.
The Eastwood Women's Rest Centre, which is behind Eastwood Library
Do you have a favourite story from your time volunteering?
Jan: We have a lovely lady who wears a beautiful hat every time she visits. She's a real character! We learn from all our customers.
Where does the money raised from the tea rooms go?
Jan: Any money we make from the tea rooms goes towards charities, including Ryde Hospital and other local organisations. We give away some $20,000 each year just from our Eastwood team rooms. The education of rural kids is also a big focus for us and we know how much it means to those that receive assistance. I got a lovely letter from a student who received a grant from us for a deposit for a school trip and was so grateful. It almost had me in tears!
The CWA tea rooms are located at the Women's Rest Centre, 2 West Parade, Eastwood. They're open every week day from 10am-3pm, with a tea room, baby change facility, shop and rest rooms. All welcome.
Interested in volunteering? Check out our volunteering page or contact the CWA.